Lancaster County GIS User Guide

Map Navigation Controls

The buttons above the map window are navigational controls that allow the user to zoom in, zoom out, pan in any direction, retrieve parcel data and measure distance. The active map control is set by left-clicking on the desired button.

Zoom In - This control can be used in one of two ways. A left mouse click will zoom in and re-center the map window on the cursor position. The user can also click and hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse to create a box. The map window will then zoom in and re-center to the area defined by the zoom box.

Zoom Out - A left mouse click when this control is active will zoom out and re-center the map window on the cursor position.

Pan - Click and hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse in the direction you wish to pan.

Parcel Information - Retrieve parcel database information by positioning the cursor over the desired map feature and clicking with the left mouse button. At this time, tax map parcels are the only selectable features.

Measure Distance - Left click once and drag along the line you wish to measure, left click once at each point at each change of direction and then double click when finished. The distance, expressed in feet and miles will be displayed in a label near the center of the finished (red) line.

Calcutate Area - Left click once in a corner of the desired area and once at each subsequent corner. Double click when finished. The area, expressed in square feet and acres will be displayed in a label near the center of the finished (red-outlined) polygon.

Remove Parcel Highlight - Removes bold outline and cross-hatch from the selected parcel but retains information retrieved from the parcel database.

Remove User-Drawn Shapes - Removes lines, shapes and labels which are displayed as a result of using one of the measurement tools.

Zoom Full - Clicking this button returns the map window to the full county extent.

If navigation controls exhibit unusual behavior, check to make sure the appropriate control button is active.

The zoom scale control in the upper left corner of the map window provides the same zoom and pan functions as the controls listed above in a format similar other online mapping services. Both control sets can be used interchangeably.

Layer Controls

This section contains a list of available map layers that can be turned on and off by clicking the check boxes and radio buttons that correspond with each layer name. The layer list is divided into two sections, overlays and base maps. Overlays can be mixed and matched according to the needs of the user. Base maps, however, can only be view one at a time.

When layers are checked, the legend will display a list of symbols and associated feature data.

Labels are designed to be visible only at closer zoom levels in an effort to reduce clutter. Additionally, as labels become visible, they may compete for space with other features. It may be necessary to pan in different directions or experiment with different zoom levels to properly label your area of interest.

How to Search Parcel Maps

The parcel database can be searched by parcel number, owner name or property address.

The search form accepts the entire parcel number with the mapping components (inserts, double-circles, lot numbers, etc.) separated by spaces, hyphens or parentheses. It is also acceptable to enter the parcel number as an unbroken string with no separation between components.

The individual components that comprise a parcel number are explained in further detail in the next section.

From time to time, you may perform a search which results in an error message. Parcel maps are periodically compared to the parcel information database specifically to identify and correct discrepancies between the two data sets, but due to frequent changes in property ownership records, it is difficult to maintain a perfect one-to-one relationship. If you encounter this, or any other type of error, you may report the problem via e-mail, or call (804) 462-7920 for assistance.

You will also see messages referring to "attached parcels" and "parent parcels". These terms are used to describe the relationship between parcels that are mapped independently, but combined for taxation purposes, with other parcels.

When performing owner name searches, enter the last name first and omit any punctuation marks (commas, periods, apostrophies, etc.). If you are having trouble getting the desired results, try searching by last name only.

For property Address searches, omit apostrophies and other puncuation from road name. Use standard abbreviations for street types (ave, rd, st, etc) and directionals (N, S, E, W). Searches which contain only a portion of the full address, such as the street name only or the house number and street name without the street type, can also be used to narrow down choices. Standard abbreviations for commonly used street types are listed below.

Parcel data returned by successful searches will be displayed directly below the map window. Some searches will generate multiple search results. In this instance, click the "Select" link to the left of the desired parcel record. Use your browser's "Back" button to return to the summary listing.

Working With Parcel Numbers

While many other localities have migrated to GPINs and other geographical designations, the parcel number (AKA tax map or tax ID number), continues to provide the unique identification for land parcels in Lancaster County.

A parcel number may consist of as many as six components:

Map Number - The main map sheet

Insert - A supplemental map sheet which shows a smaller section of the parent map sheet in greater detail. Typically used in towns and subdivisions. In most record-keeping formats, the map number and insert are combined.

Double Circle - A numeric designation which represents a portion of a town or subdivision.

Block - An alphabetical or numeric designation which represents a smaller section within a double-circle.

Lot - A designation given to an individual land parcel.

Sublot - A supplemental alphabetical designation assigned to a parcel when it is split off, or subdivided, from a larger parcel. For most practical purposes the lot number - sublot combination is considered the lot number.

Most representations of parcel numbers will separate the individual components with a series of hyphens or blank spaces.

The town of Kilmarnock is divided into four parts and further subdivided into double-circles and blocks. In the land records database, the "part" designation is combined with the double-circle.

Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs)

This layer is a geographic representation of the Flood Insurance Study conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Lancaster County and all incorporated areas located therein. The effective date is October 2, 2014. Individual flood zone designations and other terms used in this GIS layer are further defined as follows:

Flood Zone A - Zone A is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 1 percent annual chance floodplains that are determined in the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) by approximate methods. Because detailed hydraulic analyses are not performed for such areas, no base flood elevations or depths are shown within this zone.

Flood Zone AE - Zone AE is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 1 percent annual chance floodplains that are determined in the FIS by detailed methods. In most instances, whole-foot based flood elevations derived from the detailed hydraulic analyses are shown at selected intervals within this zone.

Flood Zone VE - Zone VE is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 1 percent annual chance coastal floodplains that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. Whole-foot based flood elevations derived from the detailed hydraulic analyses are shown at selected intervals within this zone.

Flood Zone X - Zone X is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas outside the 0.2 percent annual chance floodplain, areas within the 0.2 percent annual chance floodplain; and to areas of 1 percent annual chance flooding where average depths are less than 1 foot, areas of 1 percent annual chance flooding where the contributing drainage area is lass than 1 square mile and areas protected from the 1 percent annual chance flood by levees. No base flood elevations or depths are shown within this zone.

The 1 percent annual chance floodplain is also commonly referred to as the 100-year floodplain and the .2 percent annual chance floodplain is also known as the 500-year floodplain.

The number displayed on the map next to the flood zone designation is the Base Flood Elevation. The BFE is defined as the expected elevation of flood waters and wave effects during the 100-year flood.

Coastal Barrier Resource System - These areas were identified and designated as a result of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (COBRA) of 1982. More information on this topic is available on the Federal Emergency Managment Agency web site.

The Limit of Moderate Wave Action, or LiMWA, is the inland limit of the area expected to receive 1.5 foot or greater breaking waves during the 1 percent annual chance flood event.

The Flood Insurance Study can be downloaded in PDF format.

Printing Parcel Data Reports

Printing a page from this site utilizing the web browser's print function is not recommended as results vary from browser to browser and tend to be less than desirable. The preferred method is to use the "Save Report as PDF File" button which will appear to the right of the parcel details. The report, which includes the current map view and the parcel details will open in a separate window. you will have the option to print the report or save it as a PDF file. In some cases a window will pop up prompting you to choose a program with which to open the file (in most cases, the default choice is Adobe Acrobat Reader), or save the file.

Street Type Abbreviations

Street TypeAbbreviation